Garden & Outdoor

Give Your Plants Some TLC

Give Your Plants Some TLC

If your garden’s looking a little overgrown

or your plants aren’t quite at their peak you might just need to show your garden some TLC. Take a look at our advice below and discover how a few simple tasks like pruning, weeding and feeding can keep your plants in great condition.

How to prune your plants

A guide to pruning plants

How to prune your plants

Most woody plants need to be pruned during the dormant season, unless they flower in spring in which case you should prune them after flowering.

  • Take your pruners and make an angled cut just above a visible outward facing bud.
  • Snip away any damaged or dead branches, so new shoots can form on the healthy limb next time the plant’s in season.
  • Put any discarded twigs and branches in your garden bag or compost bin.

How to deadhead your plants

Some plants benefit from Regularly cutting back and pruning to keep them healthy and looking good. By trimming them back, you can also stop them from growing too large and encroaching on neighbouring plants. Pruning your plants for growth is a simple but effective step towards a thriving garden.

  • For large flowering plants, snip away flowers that are past their best using pruners. Carefully check where the best place to make a cut is – if there are new buds on the stem you’re focusing on, keep your pruning as close to the dead flower as possible.
  • For plants that have lots of small flowers, wait until there are quite a few looking lifeless so you can shear a moderate-sized section all at once. New buds will flourish in their place in no time.

How to shape your shrubs by pruning

Pruning is good for keeping plants healthy, but it can also keep them looking neat and tidy.

Here are some tips for when you’re pruning for shape:

  • Wait until your shrub’s dormant season, before you start making big changes to the shape.
  • Lightly shape topiary in late spring and again in later summer.
  • Use long handled shears for larger shrubs, so you can cut down thicker branches and create a uniform surface area.
  • Use shears or hedge-trimmers to help you shape your shrub and get it looking even.

How to remove dead wood from bushes and trees

  • Use your pruners for smaller sections of dead wood, or a pruning saw for thicker branches.
  • Cut the dead wood as close to the base as possible to encourage healthy re-growth.
A guide to getting rid of weeds

A guide to getting rid of weeds

Weeds are invasive plants which have a tendency to pop up just about everywhere. If they aren’t treated, they can take over large areas of space as they grow and multiply quickly.

Why should I get rid of weeds?

Weeds thrive in rich soil, so when you see them sprouting in your garden that can be a good indicator of your soil quality. They compete with your other plants for nutrients, space, sunlight and water – so it’s best to remove them. With regular maintenance and a keen eye, it’s easy to keep weeds at bay.

Manually removing weeds

  • For small weeds, all you need is a hand fork to remove them. A garden fork is useful for digging out larger weeds.
  • Remove the weeds and ensure you pull all of the roots out to avoid regrowth.
  • When getting rid of weeds in your garden bed, the temptation is to turn over a lot of the soil to clear the area. However, this can unearth dormant seeds, which could germinate when they reach the surface. Add a layer of compost to the surface of where you’ve been digging, to prevent the seeds from developing.

Remove weeds with a chemical treatment

  • Make sure you select the right product for the area you’re treating. Some weedkillers are best suited to paved areas, some are designed for use on lawns and others are good for use within beds and borders. For large areas, there are water soluble concentrated treatments, which you mix in a watering can. If you’re using one of these, keep the watering can separate from your other watering cans, to avoid accidentally killing other plants when watering.
  • Before you apply treatment to soil, check the earth is moist is and the weather is dry, as rain will wash away weedkiller.
  • Following the instructions, applying the weedkiller to the affected area.
How to feed your plants

A guide to feeding your plants

All plants feed themselves by taking energy from sunlight and converting carbon dioxide and water into food. However, they also take in nutrients through the soil they’re planted in.

How to feed your plants

Plant food and fertiliser will provide your greenery with a nutritional boost. Choose a ready-to-use fertiliser to feed your plants directly or a concentrate, which will need diluting before application.

  • Decide which fertiliser or food works best for your plants. Some choices are good all-rounders, but you can also buy fertilisers for specific flowers, fruit and vegetables.
  • If you’re using a concentrate, read the instructions on the pack to see the ratio of fertiliser or food to water you need. Concentrated forms may cause harm to plants if they’re not mixed with the correct amount of liquid.
  • Add your solution to a spray bottle or watering can and apply to the roots of the plant.
  • For some granular forms of food and fertiliser, you can sprinkle around plant roots and either water in, or rake to intermingle it with the soil.
  • Some plant feeds may need repeat applications.

It’s important to bear in mind that your plants will need more care if they’re in a pot. Use an appropriate compost and water them regularly to make sure they’re getting all the nutrients they need. However, avoid over watering as waterlogged pots with no drainage can kill a plant.




Writer and expert